“The waste services industry is highly competitive, and that’s the part of my role I enjoy most.”

“Women, I believe, are naturally intuitive and pay close attention not only to what is being said, but also how it’s being said, which can give us a competitive advantage in developing service packages for our customers,” said Dina Reider-Hicks, who serves as the public affairs manager for Waste Management, when asked about her approach in a predominantly male industry.

Charged with securing and managing municipal contracts throughout Brevard and Indian River counties, she added, “The waste services industry is highly competitive, and that’s the part of my role I enjoy most. Just like in sports, we develop strategies for both offense and defense and adjust both depending on the current competitive landscape.”

Has she seen bias? “Almost every woman I know has had to deal with some sort of gender-infused bias at some point in her career, whether it be a condescending comment or directive or all-out harassment. I’ve spent the majority of my career in male-dominated industries, so I’ve experienced my fair share. However, I’ve always been rather thick-skinned to these sorts of things and have no fear in slinging the dirt right back to the commenter or going directly to a higher-level manager when situations arose. 

Reider-Hicks believes the “Me, Too” movement has really brought this issue to the forefront and is sending a clear message that this behavior is absolutely unacceptable. “Unfortunately, there’s still a bit of the ‘Sweetheart, get me a cup of coffee,’ or worse, mentality, but I think a large number of men today grew up in households with a strong, authoritative woman,” she added. “For these men, having a confident, commanding woman in the workplace is perfectly natural and not out of the norm.”

Previously, Reider-Hicks served as senior director of marketing and policy development for the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast. In that role, she was responsible for developing and implementing a business marketing strategy and ensuring the Space Coast’s business climate remained competitive. She continues to serve on the executive committee and board of directors for the EDC, as well as being the current chair of the board of directors of the Cocoa Beach Regional Chamber of Commerce, and a board member of the Melbourne Regional Chamber of East Central Florida, Keep Brevard Beautiful and the Brevard Cultural Alliance.

While the EDC and Waste Management gigs might seem like quite different pursuits, there is that common thread of development and implementation that plays to her strengths. Reider-Hicks loves the fact that every day is different, bringing new challenges and opportunities. She says the waste services industry has evolved considerably over the past few decades, and Waste Management has been the industry pioneer in integrating new technology into its operations. Technology, she stressed, has played an integral role in enhancing the company’s efficiency and providing excellent service to its customers.

For Reider-Hicks, it is all about the work. “A sense of accomplishment at the end of each day is most rewarding,” she said. “I’m also fortunate I represent a company that is active in the community at many levels.”

Did You Know?

Dina Reider-Hicks lives with her husband, Steve, and their two boys, Chris and Alex, in Viera.

• We asked her what she listens to while on the road so many hours each week. Her answer? Metallica, or Ozzy’s Boneyard on satellite radio.

• Her favorite quote? “You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take.” – Wayne Gretzky

• Reider-Hicks spent 13 years in radio broadcasting for stations in Baltimore, Buffalo, York and Harrisburg. A professional broadcaster, she is an accomplished public speaker and has addressed audiences of all sizes.